Plan de cours

Plan de cours


Photography as a tool for social change

Hally Pancer

Programme des séances (contenu et objectifs pédagogiques) :

Année universitaire 2012/2013

Collège universitaire

Semestre d’automne

In this course, “Photography as a tool for social change” students will probe and analyze how photography can

shake society from indifference to induce social action. An in-depth examination of various practices to achieve

this goal will be studied and critiqued in the following categories: Observation (reportage) - locating the subject

matter, creating a workable psychological, physical distance, Contact - establishing a presence, making contact

with the subject, taking creative control, Engagement - creating a dialogue or collaboration with the subject,

including them in the work, Direct intervention of the photographer into the lives of the subjects and the work itself,

Appropriation and aesthetics in contemporary photography as an effort to bring awareness to or change public

opinion. Through the duration of the course students will be required to identify and engage with contemporary

social issues, (i.e. homelessness, adolescence, urbanization/gentrification of Paris, the gay community, the sex

industry, affluence, poverty, war, the media) analyze the subject through photographic practices and finally, to

objectively evaluate how their individual work can directly alter public opinion or induce change within the society.

A collective project in the form of a book will be one of the key objectives of this course.

Specific readings will be assigned in each class.

Format pédagogique

Pour chacune des 12 séances : présentation du thème général, de la(les) thématique(s), textes de référence,

lectures préparatoires, exercices) :

1. Introduction to theme (overview of class objectives outlined and explained)

Familiarizing students with various approaches and techniques, former class projects/books/site, introduction to

various camera functions and technical info


1a) view the film “War Photographer” / note 3 points for discussion on film

1b) collect 5-8 photographs that changed the world (for class #3)

1c) get to know your camera. go over brochure

1d) begin 1st assignment: collecting pictures

2. Social reform through observation: choosing, identifying and analyzing the subject (the notion

of objectivity, the voice of the author)

a) Lewis Hine - the role of photography in society/social concern

) Walker Evans (objectivity)

c) Anthony Hernandez - Photographs for the Homeless (observation--contact)

d) Martin Parr - contacts on youtube

e)working session - discussion: the elasticity of observation & the role/ethics of the war photographer

Topic #1 - shoot your neighborhood in the genre of Hine, Evans or Hernandez

Technical notes on shooting and downloading on to computer


2a) begin photographing topic #1

2b) consult photographers seen in class

2c) continue work on photographs that changed the world

2c) review techincal notes

3. Contact: establishing contact with the subject, defining the parameters

a) Milton Rogovin - Triptycs

b) Bill Owens - Suburbia

c) Eugene Richards - Living Below the Line - exploding into light

d) working session - presentation of collected photographs that changed the world

e) form groups for personal projects


3a) consult photographers seen in class

3b) prepare topic #1 for presentation in class (printed photographs)

3c) review technical notes

4. Engagement: What are the effects on the subject, the viewer and the collective conscientiousnes of direct

engagement by the photographer? How can text deepen and/or manipulate the results?

a) Rich and Poor - Jim Goldberg

b) Thin - Lauren Greenfield / Kids + Money

c) People with Aids - Nicolas Nixon

d) Streetwise - Mary Ellen Mark & Martin Bell (VIEW THE FILM - youtube) essay due session #8

e) working session - critique (presentations of topic #1) organizing outside shoot,

writing an outline/introduction to a project (identifying subject,methodology, objectives)


4a) consult photographers seen in class

4b) outline for group projects due next week

4c) view (youtube) STREETWISE by Martin Bell & Mary Ellen Mark write a review of the film due

5/6. Outside shoot (4hr. class in the field, double session OUTSIDE CLASSROOM on sat or sun

homework: carefully select pictures and print them out for next clas

7. Intervention: Changing the lives of subjects and the audience/society

a) Wendy Ewald - children of the appalachia

b) Born into Brothels - Children of Prostitutes in Calcutta

c) Klavdij Sluban - + cartier bresson photography in prisons - seen in class - 12 mins

d) working session - critique/analysis of pictures from shoot,

begin contextualizing pictures (imagining the final product as exhibition/book - giving it a form, examining the

possibility of text,accessing the site


5a) view the film “Camera Kids” Zana Briski,

5b) continue independent shooting if necessary

8. Photography as a tool for co-existence - photographic intervention and the Middle East Peace process.

( possible guest speaker: Ofer Bronchtein, president of the International Forum for Peace and Reconcilliation in

the Middle East.)

a) seeing oneself through the other

b) long and short term effects on populations as a result of direct intervention

c) the role of NGO’s, governmental organizations, politics and media (press) regarding initiatives of this nature.

d) access site


8a) continue work with pictures from shoot (selcection, sequence, format) organizing final project.

8b) essay on either film due (war photographer, streetwise, Born into Borthels)

9. Appropriation, Context and Dissemination of this photographic genre, how do these factors effect the power

and legitamacy of the message (how and where is it disseminated, which populations, integrated in to a public

or private space).

a) The Killing Fields - genocide in Cambodia

b) Without Sanctuary - Lynching in America

c) Reframing History - Susan Meiselas (Nicaragua) / In the American West - Richard Avedon

d) On This Site - Joel Sternfeld: teaching history through contemporary imagery

e) Felix Hernandez Torres - GUNS

f) Sophie Calle - contacts interracting with the world at large

working session - individual meetings (bring all work to class)


9a) consult photographers seen in class

9b) continue work on final project

9c) access site

10. Conclusion/Review/After thoughts

a) discussion, review and summary of photographers seen and issues raised.

working session - checklist for final projects, photographs contextualized, formatted for presentation and

preparation of included texts.


10a) write a proposal for a fantasy project that CAN (logistically) be implemented anywhere in the world

(note: photography is the tool. projects can address gender, race, economics, families, politics, etc... due: final


10b) continue preparation of work for final critique, must be exhibition ready for final critiques.

11/12. FINAL CRITIQUES (presentation of projects)

FINAL PAPER DUE (fantasy project)

Présentation des modalités d’évaluation :

(Obligatoire - 300 caractères maximum, à indiquer dans la langue principale de l’enseignement)

1. Class participation in discussions/debates, student motivation (absences, tardiness, general attitude)

2. Project proposal for a fantasy grass roots project, final text for book, essay on a selected film: demonstrating

written, analytical and expressive skills.

3. Demonstrated ability to convey critical thought using the photographic medium to produce a final project.

4. Demonstrated ability to work in a collective, deliver and delegate responsibilities towards a common goal.

5. Final presentation of long term project including: oral presentation, organization, photographic aesthetics,

technical ability.

Charge de travail (Facultatif - 300 caractères maximum, à indiquer dans la langue principale de l’enseignement 1 )

1) collect 10 photographs that changed or affected the world

2) photograph your neighborhood (topic #1) in the genre of specific photographers studied


3) write a review of a selected film

4) photographic excursion (in class - topic #2)

5) work in groups of 3 on final photographic project (topic #3) to be presented in class

6) final paper “fantasy project for social change

Références bibliographiques :

Lectures demandées

(Au minimum 1 lecture obligatoire, 5 maximum qui seront affichées dans le recueil des enseignements)

The Killing Fields, Sara Colm with Choeung & Moeun Chhean Narriddh (1995)

Hellhounds, Leon Litwack (from, Without Sanctuary, 2000)

Portraits and Dreams, Ben Lifson (1982), Wendy Ewald: Introduction

People with Aids - excerpts from participants (1992)

Thin - excerpts from participants, forward by Lauren Greenfield (2005)

Klavdij Sluban - 10 years of photography in prison (1998)

The Shared Heart - Adam Mastoon (1992)

Films: War Photographer, Christian Frei (2001 - Suisse)

Camera Kids, Zana Briski & Ross Kaufman (2005 - USA)

10 Years of Photography in Prison, Klavdij Sluban (2005 - France)

Pictures from Home, Lara Mazzawi (1999 - Israel/Palestine)

Streetwise, Mary Ellen Mark & Martin Bell

Lectures complémentaires

(Facultatif, ces lectures seront affichées sur le site Web)

Doing Documentary Work, Robert Coles (1997)

Regarding the Pain of Others, Susan Sontag (2003)

Photography and Society, Gisèle Freund (1974)

How the Other Half Lives, Jacob Riis (1890)

Photographing Evil, Robert Adams, Why People Photograph, 1981)

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